One of the most uncommon symptoms of COVID-19 is that it can temporarily deaden your senses of taste and smell. We recognize that one of the first symptoms is loss of smell. But COVID-19 impacts more than just your sense of taste and smell. New studies are uncovering an unusual, but longer-term issue: permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
How is Hearing Loss Caused by COVID-19?
Scientists are learning more about COVID-19 every single day. But there’s still a lot we don’t know. The virus itself was only first observed late in 2019. Usually, scientists work for years, if not decades, to thoroughly describe a new pathogen. One thing we do know about COVID is that it impacts different individuals in a lot of different ways (making it a particularly tricky and challenging problem).
You may experience a wide array of symptoms. And permanent hearing loss can be one of them. Why this happens is still not evident. The virus might be triggering a response called “cellular stress”. Some cells (like the cells in your ear) will begin to deteriorate, according to this hypothesis, because the virus places so much stress on the body. But this kind of hearing loss might also be the result of your body’s own immune reaction. Considerable damage can be done to your body when your immune system overcompensates.
Also, when other COVID symptoms are almost gone, this hearing loss can still become apparent. Again, we aren’t really sure why this happens. We also don’t have a solid grasp of what kind of underlying circumstances would cause COVID-related hearing loss to become more or less likely to occur.
Can This Hearing Loss be Managed?
Sensorineural hearing loss from COVID-19 can certainly be permanent. There might be a few treatment options depending on certain variables. It’s already been discovered that early steroid treatments seem to help protect your hearing from added damage. It’s essential to see a doctor as soon as possible if you experience sudden hearing loss.
Getting a hearing exam after your COVID has passed is always a smart idea.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are a couple of qualifiers to all of this. First of all, hearing loss does seem to be a relatively uncommon symptom of COVID. We don’t know yet how prevalent this particular symptom is at this point. But as scientists learn more about COVID-19 the science will adjust.
Can You Prevent COVID-Induced Hearing Loss?
If you have sudden changes in your hearing and you have COVID-19 contact your doctor and make an appointment for a hearing test with us. An early response may help reduce lasting hearing loss.
Try to stay healthy: The best way to protect against COVID-related hearing loss is to do whatever you can to steer clear of getting COVID in the first place. This means following guidelines when it comes to social gatherings, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.
While this specific symptom is uncommon, it still occurs. And you will be that much better off with more knowledge about hearing loss and COIVID. If you think you’ve already suffered hearing damage, it’s probably a wise decision to come in and get tested.